Indar Unanue: the 2024 La Vaca Gigante champion | Photo: Belén de Benito

The 10th edition of La Vaca Gigante has etched its mark in history.

In a stunning display of skill and courage, 24 surfers, both local and international, embraced the formidable Cantabrian waves, reaching heights of over 23 feet (seven meters).

The waves crashed dramatically against the Cantabrian coast, creating an epic day of XXL surfing in Santander.

Ultimately, the day belonged to Indar Unanue, who emerged victorious, shaking the cowbell and hoisting the coveted milk jug that signifies triumph in this prestigious competition.

The day commenced under cloudy skies in Cueto, with minimal wind. The only sound disrupting the silence was the eager anticipation of waves awaiting their moment to shine.

As the tide rose, the La Vaca Gigante 2024 competition kicked off around noon with the trial round. Seven surfers vied for the last coveted spot in the main event.

The action commenced swiftly, featuring impressive waves and powerful surfing, notably by Frenchman Pierre Rollet, who dominated with 24.11 points, securing a spot in the final phase.

With the main event roster finalized, 18 surfers engaged in three heats of six riders each, competing for a prize pool of €10,000.

The audience swelled as spectators gathered at the imposing cliffs, eager to witness a day of electrifying surfing.

The competition format involved 45-minute heats, where surfers aimed to accumulate points from their two best waves, with the better of the two counting double.

The initial rounds showcased local talent, with Nico García and Nano Riego claiming the top two spots in the first round, earning them places in the grand final.

The second round saw a reversal of fortune, with foreign surfers Indar Unanue and Nic Lamb delivering exceptional performances, securing scores of 25.27 and 25.39, respectively.

Pierre Rollet: he earned the highest combined score in the qualifying rounds | Photo: Belén de Benito

A Perfect 10

In the third round, local Juan Merodio and Frenchman Pierre Rollet made their mark.

Merodio achieved a perfect score of 10 on his best wave, contributing to a combined score of 26.90.

Rollet, meanwhile, achieved the highest combined score in the qualifying rounds with 28.27 points.

As the final list of contenders for this year's title emerged, approximately 10,000 spectators crowded the cliffs of Cueto, eagerly awaiting the grand finale of La Vaca Gigante 2024.

With six finalists and an hour-long heat in a challenging sea, the riders faced a formidable challenge.

Patience, talent, and wisdom would be the determining factors in the championship's golden round.

Cantabrians Nico García and Nano Riego asserted their local dominance, securing third and second place, respectively, with combined scores exceeding 20 points.

Pierre Rollet, a standout performer, showcased his prowess with a stellar 9.77 score.

However, lacking a second wave, he narrowly missed a podium finish or the chance to challenge the unbeatable Indar Unanue.

Unanue, in a spectacular display, scored two waves above 9 points - 9.67 and 9.93 - accumulating an impressive combined score of 29.53 out of a possible 30.

The Basque surfer's achievements in this 10th edition of La Vaca Gigante are remarkable. After a hiatus from the competition, he clinched victory, having finished as the runner-up three times before.

"The organization has done a great job and has been right with the call for the event because it is a complicated wave to get the timing right," expressed Indar Unanue, the La Vaca Gigante 2024 champion.

"I came wanting to make a final, and I went for it once I saw myself there."

"I was very excited to win the championship because, after several podiums, I was really looking forward to it. Thank you to all the riders, safety patrol, public, and organization staff for making it possible!" 

La Vaca Gigante 2024 | Results

  1. Indar Unanue (EUK) 29,53
  2. Nano Riego (CAN) 22,21
  3. Nicolás García López (CAN) 20,61
  4. Pierre Rollet (FRA) 19,54
  5. Nic Lamb (USA) 17,99
  6. Juan Merodio Velasco (CAN) 2,46
  • Best Cantabrian Surfer: Nano Riego
  • Best Wipeout: Juan Merodio

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